Editor: I was honored to have known John Tolbert Jr. (1905-1999) and honor him on this fifth day of Black History Month:
“I have all my teeth, Tony” John told me the first time that I met him at a meeting of the town of Leesburg’s Environmental Advisory Commission, which he chaired it at the age of 90.
I learned later that not only did he have all his teeth, but he also had all of his “marbles.” His mind was very sharp, and we talked about what it was like growing up in the segregated South. For example, after the Second World War ended (remember the one we fought and won against the racist Hitler?) all white soldiers in the Leesburg area had their celebration at the Loudoun County High School while the black soldiers had their separate celebration at the Douglass School.
Despite this attitude, John persevered and was the first black man to run for office in Loudoun County. He served the town of Leesburg for 14 years (1976-1990) on the council and in various organizations. Now there is a bridge and an elementary school named after him in the Leesburg area.
John Tolbert Jr., a man of integrity and courage. I feel honored to have known him and privileged to have been a substitute teacher in the school named after him, Tolbert Elementary School.
Anthony V. Fasolo, Leesburg